Stepter, Brinkley named Pac-12 Scholar-Athletes of the Year

SAN FRANCISCO -- USC’s Jaide Stepter and STANFORD’s Justin Brinkley were named the Pac-12 Men’s and Women’s Track & Field Scholar-Athletes of the Year, the Conference office announced on Saturday at the Pac-12 Men’s and Women’s Track & Field Championships. The award, which is presented in each of the 23 sports the Conference sponsors, was established to honor collegiate student-athletes that are standouts both academically and in their sports discipline.

Two-time Pac-12 400-meter hurdles champion Jaide Stepter (Tucson, Ariz.) ranks third in the 400 meter and seventh in the 400-meter hurdles in the country this season. She has posted the third-best time in Trojan history in the 400mh, (55.82) and was on the 4x400-meter relay team that set both the indoor and outdoor school record. She ran a school-record 50.91 in the 400 meters, in just her second-career race at that distance, also the fifth-best mark in Pac-12 history. Also an All-American in the 400-meter hurdles and 4x400-meter relay last season, she has a 3.84 grade point average in communications and aspires to work for Dreamworks animation after graduation. Co-captain of the Trojan track and field squad, she has been involved in community service events such as Union Rescue Mission, We Run L.A., Kicks 4 Kids, Day In Troy and the Community Bowl.

Justin Brinkley (Kingwood, Texas) is a communications major with minor in religious studies, boasting a 3.83 GPA. He also won the Pac-12 Leadership Award in December. A 2013 junior national champion in the 1,500 meters, last year he reached the NCAA West Regional in the 1,500 meters and earned All-America status running the 800-meter led of the distance medley relay at the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships in March. He was also a member of the distance medley relay team that set a Stanford record. A USTFCCCA All-Academic honoree in 2015, he intends to pursue a master’s of philosophy in theology and religious studies. He also won a NCAA postgraduate scholarship earlier this week and is hoping to secure the Rhodes and Marshall Scholarships.

In order to be eligible for the Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year award, student-athletes must be a senior (in athletics eligibility) on track to receive a degree, have a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher, participate in at least 50 percent of the scheduled contests in the sport and have a minimum one year in residence at the institution. Each Pac-12 institution may nominate one individual per sport, and the winners are selected by a committee of Pac-12 staff members at the conclusion of each sport’s regular season. The athletics accomplishments of the nominees are a consideration in voting for the award.

A Scholar-Athlete of the Year will be named in each of the Pac-12’s 23 sponsored sports: baseball, men’s basketball, women’s basketball, beach volleyball, men’s cross country, women’s cross country, football, men’s golf, women’s golf, women’s gymnastics, men’s rowing, women’s rowing, men’s soccer, women’s soccer, softball, men’s swimming & diving, women’s swimming & diving, men’s tennis, women’s tennis, men’s track & field, women’s track & field, women’s volleyball, and wrestling. The award was first established during the 2008-09 academic year.

Both Stepter and Brinkley are competing at the 2016 Pac-12 Men’s and Women’s Track & Field Championships this today and tomorrow, May 14-15 at the Husky Track in Seattle. For more information on the Pac-12 Championships and to for live updates, please visit www.pac-12.com/track-field/championships.

Also Nominated:
Men - Pau Tonnesen, ARIZ; Morgan Pearson, COLO; Carson Fuller, WASH.

Women - Morgan Struble, ARIZ; Ginger Jarchow, ASU; Maddie Alm, COLO; Molly Grabill, ORE; Kristyn Williams, STAN; Ali Eisenbeiss, UTAH; Baylee Mires, WASH; Dominique Keel, WSU.

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